Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Letter to the editor- students' behavior in Buffalo

I know many current students from the Buffalo Public Schools through coaching. There are quite a few grammar schools, some better than others. Many of the students I know are great kids who come from very good homes. However, there are quite a few in the lower performing schools, where this is not the case. Some parents as well as community groups (Citizen Action being one) would have you believe these students are the victims of unfair administrators and teachers. I can assure you this is not the case. Students are not being suspended for frivolous reasons. They are suspended as a last resort when they become disruptive to the learning environment.

I sub in the Buffalo schools from time to time and have been in many of the lower performing schools. If you're not in these buildings every day, you would not believe the things that go on in them. The problem at these schools is not the principals or the administrators. The problem is a large number of students coming to school with zero discipline and no respect for education. Education starts at home. The people who think these students are being unfairly targeted for their behavior have been watching too many Disney movies. The rest of us live in the real world. I was glad to see this letter in today's Buffalo News...

Don't blame administrators for students' bad behavior

A recent News article regarding the high rates of student suspensions in the Buffalo schools was really alarming. Some parents, grandparents and even community activists took administrators to task for levying discipline for “minor infractions.” Examples cited were students who were tardy, using cellphones and roaming the halls. I find it incredulous that once again, misguided people are blaming teachers and administrators for their own kids’ bad behavior.

Schools are places where we send our kids to learn. These same kids who regularly break the rules also make it more difficult for those who are attempting to get a quality education. If the suspension of troublemakers leads to them ultimately dropping out, that would be unfortunate. However, it’s better to have them gone if their absence creates an atmosphere where others may actually learn.

Even more disturbing to me was the insinuation that race was involved in suspensions. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a white guy from the suburbs. However, I am confident that the district’s policies regarding cellphones, roaming the halls and tardiness apply to all races.

M. Scott Chismar

Lake View


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